In the Sufi tradition, belief is seen as existing in three different forms or types. For one, there is absolute belief, whereby belief is unwavering and whereby the fluctuations and turmoil of external reality do nothing to hinder or roll back one’s absolute belief. This first type of belief – namely, absolute belief – is rooted in one sort of confirmation or another (Tajalli). Second, there is rational belief, whereby belief is established through rationality, logic, and proof, and is merely waiting for confirmation in order to become absolute belief. And third, there is cultural belief, which is the weakest form or type of belief, and it is established neither in confirmation nor in logic and it can fall apart at the slightest disturbance or upheaval.
Confirmation of belief (Tajalli) is not only a psychological and spiritual phenomenon, but it is also a bodily and physical phenomenon as well. As Lao Tzu said: “Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart, and the senses.” Once the confirmation of belief (Tajalli) strikes the head, heart, and the senses, it translates into what Plato discussed in his “Allegory of the Cave” whereby such a phenomenon facilitates a departure from “darkness” and entrance into “light.” And once a person has entered into light, reversion to darkness is both detrimental and shameful.
Also, confirmation of belief (Tajalli) is emblematic or symbolic of salvation, and the metaphor for salvation in many traditions is either a garden or an island. In turn, a garden or an island is emblematic or symbolic of inner peace (as-sakina). Thus, it follows that confirmation leads to salvation, and salvation leads to inner peace. Such belief and such phenomena occur primarily through learning and repentance. In turn, the learning and repentance process can bring those who were once at loggerheads and opposed to one another into a state of mutual understanding and mutual respect. The point is to be open to learning, for it has been said that the mind is like a parachute, in the sense that the mind does not work if it is not open. Thus, the confluence of learning, repentance, and open-mindedness can foster an opening for mutual exchange, mutual respect, and even friendship between people who once distrusted each other or were at loggerheads with one another.
Moreover, absolute belief which has been established in foolproof confirmation (Tajalli) means that the ups and downs as well as the social strife and turmoil which surrounds the believer does not hinder the believer’s ability to pierce through appearances and to internalize the ultimate reality and the truth of existence. As René Guénon wrote:
“Those who might be tempted to give way to despair should realize that nothing accomplished in this order can ever be lost, that confusion, error, and darkness can win the day only in appearance and in a purely ephemeral way, that all partial and transitory disequilibriums must perforce contribute towards the greater equilibrium of the whole, and that nothing can ultimately prevail against the power of truth; their motto should be the one formerly used by certain initiatic organizations of the West: Vincit omnia Veritas.”
Nor can belief be blind in order to withstand the fluctuations and turmoil of one’s external reality. Hence, as the saying goes: “Seeing is believing.”